June 18, 2004
Keep SVG beautiful

A few weeks ago we published an article on home composting. Here is the promised follow-up article in which we will discuss community composting efforts by the Solid Waste Unit (SWU).
The second thrust comes with separated green waste which does end up at the Diamond landfill. This material is shredded in a wood chipper and placed in windrows. {{more}} There are currently nine of them, each some 20m long and 2m high and wide. They are turned each week and can be seen steaming as the organic matter rots down. During the dry season they have to be watered to keep the bacteria, fungi and insects actively decomposing.
Conversely, when it is very rainy they are covered to prevent leaching out of nutrients. When they stop steaming the finished compost is sifted and bagged for sale. Members of the public can purchase it at $5 a sack from CWSA.
Large logs, not suitable for composting, are chipped and sold to landscapers for mulching. It is hoped, in the future, to purchase a truck to collect separated organic waste, especially from larger catering enterprises like the hotels and hospitals to further extend operations. In the meantime, gardeners can get rid of their pruned branches by taking them to the landfill themselves.
Refuse disposal cannot be taken lightly. As societies get richer they tend to generate more garbage and in St. Vincent this affects at least three major sectors of the economy: health, tourism and agriculture. If garbage is not properly disposed, mosquitoes, flies and rats multiply and with them, disease.
If the island is not kept tidy even its great natural beauty will not be sufficient to attract tourists.
Indeed a few years ago certain cruise lines refused to come here because they said the place was too dirty.
A survey done by the SWU two years ago revealed that 50 per cent of the rubbish taken to the Arnos Vale dump was organic matter. Composting can usefully recycle this 50 per cent and help us have more beautiful gardens, not to mention the impact on agriculture.
• SVG Horticultural Society.